Eggshells are the nutrition boosters for indoor plants and gardens because they are full of calcium. Moreover, they are also acting as insect pest repellents and protect potted plants from them. So, do not toss away these eggshells; instead, add them to the compost bin for extra nutrients. Read on and find out the benefits of using eggshells as fertilizer.
A healthy cassava plant free from insect pests and diseases Photo Credit
Eggshells are made entirely of calcium carbonate, which the entire plant needs for healthy growth and reproduction. There are many ways to use eggshells to give the plant’s roots a nutritional boost. For example, you can apply them through compost, soil, and eggshell tea.
Let’s learn more about eggshells as fertilizer and how we can use them for plant and soil health.
What is an Eggshell Fertilizer?
Eggshell fertilizer is made through ground eggshells which are full of calcium carbonate. The plant needs these nutrients to strengthen its cell walls. Egg shells not only contain calcium, but they also have other nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and sulfur.
Eggshells have surprising benefits for plants, from nutrition boosts to pest control and assistance in reproductive growth. Photo Credit
Mixing the eggshell powder with garden soil and potting mix provides long-term nutritional benefits to the ground and plants. Because eggshells directly release nutrients into the soil and improve soil nutrition levels.
Therefore, eggshell fertilizer is an effective and inexpensive way of plant nutrition over costly synthetic fertilizers.
Eggshells in compost for a nutrient boost and pest control Photo Credit
Benefits of Eggshell Fertilizer
Eggshells and their fertilizer benefit plants in several ways and help gardeners to achieve the goal of healthy and happy plants;
Eggshell Fertilizer Moderates the Soil Acidity
The soil pH requirements vary for different plants, and most plants prefer low acidity in the soil to absorb nutrients and repel harsh elements like aluminum. So, adding eggshells as fertilizer moderates the soil acidity and makes nutrient absorption easier for plants. It is because eggs are rich in calcium which acts as lime and shifts acidic soil pH to alkaline.
Eggshell Prevent Blossom End Rot
Eggshell fertilizer prevents the tomato plants from blooming end rot due to calcium deficiency.
Blossom end rots in tomato fruit due to poor watering and calcium availability. Photo Credit
Adding eggshell fertilizer helps fruiting plants’ soil with calcium and avoid the blossom end rot. This problem is also due to poor soil conditions; watering and eggshell powder also eliminate them.
Eggshells as Seed Starters
Eggshell as fertilizer—a surprising way to use them Photo Credit
Eggshells can be used as seed starters. Keep the deep halves of the shells to sow seeds. Sterilize and dry eggshells entirely before use, and then make a hole at the bottom with a pin to drain excess water.
Fill the eggshell with a potting mix and sow the plant seeds. When sprouts appear, transfer the seedling along with shells to the pot. As the plant grows, the eggshell will decompose, add calcium to the soil, and help the roots grow and spread.
Eggshells as Pest Control
Crushed eggshells or eggshell dust around the plant bases puncture the insect bodies and kill them through dehydration. Photo Credit
Eggshells are the perfect choice for indoor plant owners and gardeners to use for pest control. The ground eggshells act as bits of glass and pierce the insect body, losing their body fluids and dying.
Eggshell Fertilizer Helps Plant in Root Growth
Crushed bits of eggshell fertilizer to support plant root growth Photo Credit
Eggshells, like coffee grounds, add more than one nutrient to the soil and assist root growth faster and more robustly. To prepare eggshell fertilizer;
- Clean, dry eggshells and grind them into a coffee grinder to achieve a fine powder.
- Then pour boiling water for 30 minutes
- Cover and store the mixture for one week
- After one week, shake the mixture and directly apply it to the soil to feed it with high calcium levels and other minerals.
Eggshell Fertilizer Improves the Soil Structure
Mixing eggshells with potting soil will improve the soil nutrient levels and draining capacity. The spreading of shells over the soil surface act as organic mulch and prevent moisture loss, reducing soil acidity and improving plants’ growth and flowering.
How to Use Eggshell Powder for Plants?
There are two ways to use eggshells as fertilizer in plants;
- Eggshell fertilizer tea
- Crushed eggshells
Crushed Eggshells for Potted Plants
Eggshells take a long time to break down to add nutrients to the soil. So, it is wiser to add them in crushed form into the soil mix. To grind the eggshells;
- Take a few eggs shells, thoroughly rinse and dry them
- Now crush the clean and dried eggshells in a food processor to achieve the most acceptable particle size
- Spread uniformly over the soil surfaces to keep the pests away, add nutrients, and improve soil structure
Eggshell Fertilizer Tea
Another best way to use eggshells as fertilizer is in tea form. To make an eggshell fertilizer tea;
- Take ten to twenty eggshells, and rinse them with water to remove egg residues.
- Dry the rinsed eggshells
- Fill the pot or container with one-liter water and bring it to a boil. Add the cleaned and dried eggshells into boiling water and let the eggshells sit overnight.
- Strain the eggshell tea to remove shells and add two cups of water for each houseplant to add extra calcium into the soil.
Eggshell fertilizer improves the flowering of roses Photo Credit
FAQs on Eggshell as Fertilizer
Do You Need to Wash Eggshells Before Composting?
The washing of eggshells before composting is not compulsory. However, thorough cleaning and drying of eggshells will help in the prevention of Salmonella contaminations of compost. At the same time, drying of shells will allow them to crush more easily before adding to the compost bin.
Do Eggshells Attract Rats?
Eggshells attract rats, especially if the shells are not rinsed and have egg residues. The egg residues dry and smell which attracts the rats in your compost bin along with more trouble for compost bin owners. Therefore, to avoid this problem, wash your eggshells and add them to the container to enrich your garden soil.
Where Do You Put Eggshells in the Garden?
There are many ways to use eggshells in your garden, and these are;
- Seedling starter
- Improve soil aeration
- Improve the drainage of garden container
- Add into garden soil to encourage beneficial birds
- Improve the blooming of flowering plants
- Make foliar spray
- Increase soil pH
- Deter slugs and snails
- Repel cats
- Control pests
- Deter black ants
- Compost tea
- Plant fertilizer
- Repel deer
Can We Use Boiled Eggshells for Plants?
Calcium carbonate is critical for the plant’s roots’ growth and cell wall integrity, and its deficiency leads to no growth of plants. So, to add calcium to the soil for plants, add eggshells in boiling water for 30 minutes and let it sit overnight, strain it, and water your potted plants.
Boiled eggshells in water are a great way to cure calcium deficiency in plants.
Why Do Eggshells Help Plants Grow?
Eggshells are entirely made up of calcium carbonate and have surprising benefits for plants. For example, the high content of calcium in eggshell powder acts as lime, moderates the soil acidity, and ensures the availability of all the nutrients to roots, thus improving plant growth.
Eggshells are a source of phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, which play a crucial role in plant growth and development.
Do Eggshells Keep Ants Away?
Eggshells are an excellent insect repellent and will keep the ants away from your indoor plants and garden. Sprinkle the crushed eggshells around the stem of your plants to keep the ants away. Mostly, these ants visit your plants for honeydew and tend the aphids, whiteflies, and mealybugs for sugary secretions.
Which Houseplants Benefit from Eggshells?
Eggshells have tremendous benefits for houseplants and garden vegetables. The following houseplants get benefits from eggshells;
- Butterfly bush
The vegetable plants in particular from the nightshade family will benefit the most from eggshells;
- Swiss chard (crushed eggshells prevent them from garden slugs and snails)
Are Tea Bags Good for Plants?
The tea bags are perfect for plants because they are a source of many growth-related nutrients. So, adding them into the compost adds extra nutrients and improves plant health. They also add organic matter, increase drainage, maintain moisture levels, enhance the number of earthworms, and maintain the garden soil structure.
How Do You Use Eggshells in a Potted Plant?
The best way to use eggshells for a potted plant is by adding a thin layer of crushed shells onto the soil surface of already established ones and then watering them. The water will carry the bits of shells into the soil and feed the roots with calcium simultaneously. Whenever you water your houseplants, it will take down the fragments and improve plant nutrition.
On the other hand, the second-best method is using eggshell tea.
Is Rice Water Good for Plants?
Rice water is beneficial and better than tap water (it may contain harsh chemicals for succulents). Moreover, it contains starch which promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria (rhizobia). While for plants, rice water is helpful in several ways because it adds minerals and nutrients to the soil, just like eggshells.
How Can I Make My Soil Fertile Naturally?
Many ways to make the soil fertile naturally, and these are;
- Add animal manure for nitrogen
- Add compost periodically to boost the nutrition of the soil
- Mix grind eggshells with soil
- Try low-tech tillage
- Plant cover crops to prevent the leaching of nutrients and moisture
- Use organic mulches
Sources for Further Reading
- Sawyer, A. (2020c). Coffee grounds, eggshells and Epsom salts in the home garden. UMN Extension. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://extension.umn.edu/manage-soil-nutrients/coffee-grounds-eggshells-epsom-salts
- Browning, S. (n.d.). Garden Compost. University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/html/g2222/build/g2222.htm
- Saha, U. K. (2011, August 1). Selenium in Georgia Soils and Forages: Importance in the Livestock Industry. University of Georgia Extension. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=B1346
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